The ability to adapt is a necessity in today’s ever-changing world, and how well an organization can respond to change can have a significant impact on long-term growth and success. The term “business resilience” is often used to refer to business continuity and vice versa, but failing to recognize and approach business resilience as the related, but more broad, strategy that it is, can result in a missed opportunity to position your organization for optimal success.
What is Business Resiliency?
James Crask, the convenor of the group responsible for developing the ISO standards for business security and resilience, states that “a resilient organization is one that is able to adapt to change, is aware of where its vulnerabilities lie, and has plans in place to respond should things go wrong.” While business continuity plans focus on being prepared to face, respond to, and recover from known risks, resilience plans take things a few steps further.
A BCP resilience plan prepares an organization to face risks both known and unknown.
Therefore, it comprises both business continuity and risk management efforts, as well as other policies and procedures to prepare for challenges and threats that could emerge in the future.
What Risks Should a Business Resiliency Plan Consider?
Being able to adapt quickly is a central element of business resiliency. But what should your organization consider when developing a business resiliency plan to best prepare for the unforeseeable? All risks—known and unknown, existing and potential. Let’s take a look.
Every organization has some number of potential threats, disruptions, or other risks that have enough potential to occur to be a concern. This is where a business continuity plan comes in.
A business continuity plan considers the most critical functions and assets of the organization, identifies primary risks, and details procedures for preventing, mitigating, responding to, and recovering from disruptions. The exact details of a business continuity program will vary from one organization to the next but will plan for a range of potential incidents, including:
- Network outages
- System failures
- Supply chain disruptions
- Natural disasters
- Personnel shortages
Having a comprehensive, adaptable plan in place will prepare for high-risk and high-probability disruptions and threats—and lay the foundation for preparing for their unknown counterparts.
How can your organization prepare for risks that don’t exist yet but may arise in the future?
A flexible business continuity plan does play a critical role here, but it needs to incorporate an organized approach to governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) to be effective:
- Governance assures processes and procedures are aligned with your goals
- Risk management ensures seamless identification and mitigation of risks
- Compliance ensures applicable regulations are being followed, completely
A mature, integrated approach to GRC will facilitate clarity, communication, and efficiency which will, in turn, better position the organization to adapt to new concerns as they emerge.
Workforce Readiness and Wellness
Personnel safety and shortages should be addressed in your business continuity plan. But resilience can be impacted even in the absence of an incident. Factors to consider include:
- Education and awareness – Do personnel have sufficient training opportunities? Training is essential to helping keep professional skills current and support the awareness of and compliance with security standards, operational procedures, and organizational policies.
- Health and wellness – Are there initiatives in place to ensure healthy working conditions and to support the long-term wellness of personnel? Physical and mental health can impact productivity even under ideal conditions, so supporting employee health can contribute to the long-term success of the organization.
- Communication – Is there sufficient multidirectional communication throughout the organization? Do personnel have access to leadership, and is critical information disseminated promptly? Communication is crucial to an organization’s success at all times, especially in the face of unexpected challenges.
Ultimately, a rewarding professional environment that provides personnel with a sense of security will have better retention and engagement. This will position the organization to be better able to attract talent down the road, mitigating the risk of skill gaps and shortages.
Disruptions can lead to financial loss, but financial stability is worth considering under any circumstances. In the face of financial hardship, you should ask these questions:
- What organizational activities are most critical?
- What processes, procedures, and personnel are most essential to achieving organizational goals?
- What resources are necessary to remain in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements?
A resilient organization will be prepared to respond to shifts in demand for what they provide, the emergence of new competitors, and other changes that could impact its finances.
The Reputation of the Organization
An organization with a poor reputation is unlikely to have much hope for a bright future. Consider your organization’s relationship with the public and what they count on you for:
- Does your organization provide services that people rely on day-to-day?
- Are you entrusted to handle personal information or other sensitive data?
- What image does your organization convey and uphold?
Consider how the situations your organization could face might also affect the community you serve, stakeholders, and other relevant parties. Ensure your business resiliency plan includes measures for protecting the reputation and image of your organization by mitigating negative impacts on other parties and communicating critical information promptly and responsibly.
Business Resilience Strategies
A comprehensive business resiliency plan addresses several potential concerns and, therefore, must employ a variety of strategies. Some of the most crucial to consider include:
- Robust cybersecurity – Cyberattacks are among the most significant threats to an organization’s resiliency, so implementing an effective cybersecurity program that is ready to evolve in the face of emerging threats is essential.
- Diversified technical infrastructure – A rigid IT infrastructure can make it much more difficult to respond to the need for change. Evaluate the application of virtual infrastructure, the use of multiple cloud services, and other emerging technologies as they become available to establish fallbacks that will help keep operations on track in the case of an outage or other failure.
- Evolving workflows – Technology and globalization have changed the way people work, and that trend is only likely to continue. Establishing procedures that account for the way workflows may change in the future can help improve flexibility now and provide resiliency in the future.
- Establishing a strong organizational culture – An organization with an established culture, clear norms and expectations, and a strong sense of identity will be better equipped to face unexpected challenges.
Benefits of Business Resiliency
Being prepared to face and overcome acute incidents such as cyberattacks, natural disasters, and supply-chain disruptions are all critical to an organization’s success. An effective business resiliency plan will establish the policies and procedures that you can depend on to:
- Give your organization a competitive edge
- Foster and support a healthy, satisfied, productive workforce
- Support your organization’s ability to achieve its objectives
- Foster and protect a positive image and reputation
Coupled with robust cybersecurity, business resiliency will keep your organization operating at its maximum capacity regardless of any challenges it faces—or will face. And the best way to leverage these benefits is working with a quality managed services provider, like RSI Security.
Position Your Organization for the Future with RSI
An effective business resiliency strategy requires ongoing analysis of your organization and the consideration of risks and other factors across several domains. RSI Security’s dedicated incident management team will help set your organization up to succeed in the unknown conditions of the future so you can remain focused on your mission.
Contact RSI Security today to assess your organization’s resilience.